Smoking With James Drew

by Ashley Inguanta Read the Story March 26, 2012

What inspired you to write this story? Tell me about where you were when you got the idea, what you were thinking.

About a year ago, a broadcaster by the name of Harold Camping announced that the Rapture was going to take place one Saturday in May. All the good Christians were to be taken up into the sky, with the rest of us toasting in Hellfire for a few months until the end of the world. Given my weird relationship with religion over the years, I reckoned I wasn’t going to be Raptured, and after I’d made about thirty jokes on twitter about it, I wrote a short story on the fly. I was drowning in final exams at the time, which should go some way towards explaining that decision.

So as a piece of fiction it’s quite personal, quite close to my experiences with religion and the religious, and loosely based on a period of my life when I was about Grace’s age. Maybe a little bit younger. There are actually two stories I’ve written, to date, about that period and in both the protagonist is female, which is� interesting.

For the curious, it’s almost a year later and I still haven’t been Raptured.

How did this story evolve over time?

There’s a reason I didn’t go into archery; I was aiming for “funny” and obviously I missed that mark, so WHERE RU came out contemplative and kind of sad.

Tell me about the mother and her “faith in humanity.”

If you ask around on the subject of faith and spirituality, you invariably get a few people saying they have “faith in humanity.” If it sounds like a cop-out, that’s because it is — I know this because I said it for years as a fledgling atheist. What sane person has faith in humanity? Humanity counts Piers Morgan among its number.

You don’t want to give a “real” answer to that question because even the act of talking about this subject makes it a weird one. I don’t know why that is. My impression is that after her dad went a bit happy-clappy, Grace asked her mum what she thought about all this business, and that’s the answer she got.

What would Grace and Jill do if the world did come to an end? If they made it past the “end”?

At this point I really wish I had a post-apocalyptic young adult novel to shill, but I don’t. Lesson learned. If I did, it would likely be about these two figuring out how to go about their lives without any adult influence, which wouldn’t actually be much different from the pre-Raptured life. Grace has already survived a very localized apocalypse.

On the other hand, I do think it would be funny if Jill got herself Raptured, like she was hiding a spiritual side all along. I say “funny” because it probably wouldn’t make much sense.

About the Author:

Ostensibly, James Drew lives in London, but he spends a lot of time behind a keyboard either pretending to work or updating his blog at

About the Interviewer:

Ashley Inguanta is a Florida-based writer and photographer whose work has appeared in Redivider, PANK, and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review. She is also the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly. In 2010, Ashley’s story “The Heart of America” earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train for their Very Short Fiction Award. She is a former art director of SmokeLong Quarterly and author of three poetry collections: The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press, 2013), For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books, 2014), and Bomb (Ampersand Books, 2016). In 2019 Ampersand Books will publish her newest collection, The Flower, about how death shapes us.